NerdWallet’s Best Credit Card Tips for January 2023

As you're navigating your expenses this month, these five credit card tips may help you achieve your financial resolutions.
Jaime Hanson
By Jaime Hanson 
Edited by Erin Hurd

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Happy 2023 from the Nerds! With the changing of the calendar comes a renewed chance to pursue the goals that matter most to you.

Whether you're focused on financial health, physical wellness or simply making memories in the year ahead, here are five ways that current credit card offers can help you achieve those resolutions.

Pay down debt

If holiday spending left you with a financial hangover, you may be starting 2023 on a debt reduction journey. For consumers with good credit (a FICO score of 690 or higher), a low-interest balance transfer card can provide helpful relief on accrued interest as you seek to pay off that credit card balance. For example, the BankAmericard® credit card offers 0% intro APR on Purchases for 21 billing cycles and 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 21 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, and then the ongoing APR of 16.24%-26.24% Variable APR .

BankAmericard® Credit Card
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All balance transfers carry a fee of $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater. Even so, this one-time fee may be worth paying if it saves you money on interest charges over time.

Pad your emergency fund

Even if debt isn't a concern, many consumers are entering 2023 with a fresh focus on their financial affairs. That makes now a great time to plan for the unexpected by shoring up an emergency fund.

NerdWallet recommends holding enough cash to cover three to six months of living expenses, but if that seems out of reach, even a $500 cushion could help reduce the stress of an unexpected medical bill or car repair.

To help you build that fund without significant changes in your spending, consider applying for a cash-back credit card with a sign-up bonus you can use toward your emergency fund. Several of these cards offer new customers a cash bonus worth $200 or more for meeting a spending requirement within a certain period.

To maximize your savings, choose a card with rewards that match your spending. That way, you'll earn cash back on money you would be spending anyway, plus you'll earn the initial bonus.

Capital One® SavorOneSM Cash Rewards Credit Card
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If your monthly budget is heavy on dining out, groceries and entertainment, for example, the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card could be a great bet. Along with ongoing rewards of 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 3% at grocery stores, 10% on purchases made through Uber and Uber Eats, and 1% on other purchases, the card currently features this lucrative welcome offer: Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Build credit

While the options above are a great way to help build financial security, both require good credit (a FICO score of 690 or above) to qualify. If you have poor credit or a lack of significant credit history, that may feel like a frustrating stumbling block.

But there are options to help you build credit while still earning rewards. Consider a secured credit card as a stepping stone — ideally one with a path to upgrade to an unsecured version of the same card.

Discover it® Secured Credit Card
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For example, the $0-annual-fee Discover it® Secured Credit Card earns 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. All other purchases earn 1%. These rewards are made even more valuable with Discover's current INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.

This secured card requires a minimum $200 security deposit, but the company begins reviewing your account after seven months to determine eligibility for an unsecured card. If you maintain a solid track record of on-time payments over that period, you'll get the security deposit back when you upgrade with the issuer.

Focus on wellness

Are you kick-starting your healthy year with a new meal-prepping routine or commitment to fitness? Flex your financial muscles with your Chase Freedom® or Chase Freedom Flex℠. Both cards feature Target, grocery stores (excluding Walmart), fitness clubs and gym memberships and grocery stores as 5% bonus categories for the first quarter of 2023.

Plus, for a limited time, new Chase Freedom Flex℠ cardholders who apply directly through Chase can earn 5% cash back at grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart) on up to $12,000 in spending in the first year.

For the first three months of 2023, that translates to 9% back on grocery purchases. (It's not 10% back because the bonus is 4% on top of the baseline 1% back. So you earn 5% for the year, plus an extra 4% for the quarter.) And that's in addition to an impressive sign-up bonus of $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases during the first three months from account opening.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Chase's introductory offer of 5% back on groceries on up to $12,000 in spending in the first year is available only when you apply directly with Chase. NerdWallet features a different offer.

Cardholders must activate the bonus categories online or in the Chase app by March 14, 2023, to receive this quarter's 5% rewards on up to $1,500 in eligible spending (including purchases made before activating).

See the world

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
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Did turning the calendar to 2023 leave you channeling your inner wanderlust? A travel credit card and its sign-up bonus can help you reach those dreamy destinations without breaking the bank. This NerdWallet Best-Of Awards 2023 winner offers just that. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers solid rewards earnings and some travel perks, and it currently features this impressive welcome offer: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Find the right credit card for you.

Whether you want to pay less interest or earn more rewards, the right card's out there. Just answer a few questions and we'll narrow the search for you.

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